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I'm building toy strollers for my girls. I'm planning on using solid wood wheels and I would like to attach rubber tread. I was hoping to buy a roll of rubber tread, maybe with a slot or something to help secure it to the wheels. What options are out there for tread?

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  • What kind of slot? To attach it to the wooden wheels, or as a profile for the wheels to have more grip on the ground? – Joachim Oct 20 '20 at 12:22
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    I was thinking the slot would help secure the rubber wheel to the wooden rim, having tread or not is not essential – stackoverfloweth Oct 20 '20 at 13:04
  • Are the strollers toys for your children to push around their dolls in? Or are they for you to push around your children in? If the latter, I would do some research about how to make a safe stroller. – csk Oct 20 '20 at 15:04
  • @csk good thing to clarify, this is for the kids to push dolls in – stackoverfloweth Oct 20 '20 at 15:05
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You could cut up an old bike tire. Cut off the sides, and you have a nice strip of actual tire tread. There are lots of different sizes of bike wheel, so you can customize the depth of the tread by choosing between road tire (skinny tire, shallow tread), off-road (much wider tire and deeper, bumpier tread), hybrids (a cross between road and off-road) and those fat balloon tires that have become popular recently.

You could secure the tire tread with thin nails, strategically hidden between the treads. If the nails are too visible once they're in, add a dab of black paint to the nail head.

Or, if you just want a thin layer of rubber, cut up an old inner tube. In this case, there's nowhere to hide the nails, so I would make them part of the design. Space them evenly around the circumference. I would go with a larger nail with a wider head (eg, carpet tacks). Stretch the inner tube slightly as you secure it so it doesn't stretch after the fact and sag or gap. But don't stretch it so much that it will pull against the nails and rip. Note that the nailheads will stick out just a bit, like hobnailed boots. So this is not a good idea if you expect your children to play with these strollers on your nice wood floors.

Thanks to Chris H for this suggestion:

You could glue inner tube rubber - not with patch cement but with contact adhesive or gel superglue. Neither will hold against attempts to peel the rubber away, but should work in this case. This wouldn't work for a tyre, as that's too stiff.

Ask your local bike shop if they will sell you an old tire or inner tubes they were going to throw away. It should be cheap; they may even give it to you for free (especially if you tell them it's for a hand-made toy for your children).

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    You could glue inner tube rubber - not with patch cement but with contact adhesive or gel superglue. Neither will hold against attempts to peel the rubber away, but should work in this case. This wouldn't work for a tyre, as that's too stiff. – Chris H Oct 20 '20 at 18:14
  • I'd use a hybrid or commuter tyre - just enough tread to bury the nail in especially if you drive it with a punch, but quiet and easy rolling. And you should be able to pick one or two up for free (I'm too far away to provide one) – Chris H Oct 20 '20 at 18:15
  • @ChrisH I was considering suggesting glue for the inner tube, but I wasn't sure if it would hold. Thanks for the info. I added it to my answer. – csk Oct 20 '20 at 20:55
  • I've made a wallet using an old inner tube, so I've tried a few things. this is easier than I had to deal with - a larger contact area and a rigid substrate – Chris H Oct 21 '20 at 7:58
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While I've voted for the answer suggesting bike tyres, here are some alternatives:

There are vinyl products that can be painted on (or dipped, but painting is better in this case). A couple of coats of black Plasti-dip, the brand I have here, would work nicely.

Cylindrical pieces of black latex of the right sort of size are available - drysuit replacement wrist seals.

You could even use large diameter heatshrink sleeving - cut and align very tidily before using a heat gun gently. Two layers would look best, shrinking the first before applying a second that completely covers it.

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  • I appreciate the alternative ideas, I might try the plasti-dip option before springing for bike tires. – stackoverfloweth Oct 20 '20 at 19:22
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    @stackoverfloweth you really should be able to get used tyres for free if you ask around – Chris H Oct 21 '20 at 7:57

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